If my boyfriend and I bought a house together but now we’ve split, what do I do?

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If my boyfriend and I bought a house together but now we’ve split, what do I do?

My now ex-boyfriend and I purchased a house together last summer. We naively didn’t really make a plan or sign a contract on what we would do if

we broke up since at the time we were very happy. Now we have split and I want to leave the state, he is unsure of what his plans are and isn’t sure about selling the house. I tried to purchase the house just in my name previously, however because I had paid such low rent for so long they wanted him added since he makes more money. So now we are stuck with both of us being on the mortgage and title. When we purchased the house it was appraised for more than we paid and we live in a very expensive touristy town where the house prices continue to rise. We’ve done some improvements to the house so I know we can at least make a little profit off the house, if we sell it ourselves and not with a real estate agent and also wait until this summer, if possible, for the 2 year mark to avoid capital gains taxes on the profit. The town we live in, as I mentioned is very expensive and affordable housing is very hard to find, we just got lucky. I don’t want to be a jerk and sell the house and then him not have a place to live but I also don’t think he could afford to buy it low credit scores with it being worth a bit more. However, I also do not want to be attached to this house when I leave the state and just trust that everything remains in good condition and the bills are paid he hasn’t ever been late on a bill before but I still worry. What are our options?

Asked on November 1, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You have only two options:
1) Work matters out voluntarily with him, whether that is for one of your buy out the other (this could be done without financing by the way, such as one of you letting the other pay the cost over time in installments), the two of you to agree to sell and split the proceeds, renting the house to others (while you both live elsewhere) and splitting the proceeds, etc.
2) If you and he cannot work matters out voluntarily, either of you could bring a kind of legal action traditionally called an action "for partition" (though it is possible your state has a different name for it) seeking a court order compeling that it be sold and that the proceeds  (after paying cost of sale and paying off the mortgage) be split between the two of you.


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